A few months back I was contacted by writer Ryan Gattis about documenting the creation of a mural in the city of Lynwood. Ryan is the author of “All Involved”, his book is set over the six days of the 1992 Los Angeles riots, after Rodney King’s LAPD assailants were acquitted. The city of Lynwood is backdrop for the characters in his novel. Needless to say Lynwood is close to his heart. This mural project was a call to action. Its an effort to get the local students of Lynwood & Firebaugh High School to collaborate and create the concept for this mural project. I did not hesitate to say yes and get involved. Art teachers from both high schools and members of the art collective UGLARWorks which Ryan is a member, would be providing guidance into the production of this mural.
For the next few Saturdays and Sundays I would take a drive to Lynwood Park and document the mural making process. My contribution to this whole process was to show students how I photograph and create images. In between those conversations and shutter clicks I would ask students if I could take their portrait. Some shied away and others were curious to see the process. It was fun to bring out there personalities. A relaxed setting with no pressure. I don’t take portraits very often and when I do I try and feel the subject out. Talk and build some rapport before snapping away.
To take these portraits I used my Mamiya C330 with a 105mm lens. Paired this camera with some expired Ilford XP2 Super 400. The film type is c-41 black and white film which I have never used before. The tones where great especially the blacks. For this project it worked well. Having the film processed immediately was the goal so they are catalogued and ready when needed.
This is a starting point of something bigger in the near future for the city of Lynwood. For the students it was a glimpse into possibilities of what they can do after high school. During these few weeks you can see confidence and a sense of accomplishment in the faces of these students. Murals in cities are nothing new. It’s when the mural is created by the residents of that city does it take take new life. I’d like to thank Ryan Gattis for bringing me along and see where this journey will take us.